At some point or another, everyone in Seattle is a pedestrian if only for a few minutes a day. Unfortunately, pedestrians face risks when walking near and around motor vehicles. Pedestrian accidents can lead to serious injuries, but victims can generally recover compensation from the motorist’s liability insurance. Unfortunately, if the motorist flees the scene, the pedestrian’s options can become extremely limited.
What to Do after a Hit and Run Accident
Immediately after the accident, the pedestrian should seek medical treatment. Accident victims may suffer serious injuries like broken bones, traumatic brain injury and spinal injuries that may prevent them from taking any further action. If the victim suffered only minor injuries or no injuries at all, he or she should try to get witness contact information and see if any witnesses caught the driver's license plate number.
Pedestrians should also write down as much information about the vehicle and driver as possible:
- number of doors;
- damage; and
- license plate.
Victims should file a police report as well. Even if the pedestrian feels fine or suffered minor injuries, he or she should see a doctor for evaluation.
Legal Options for Obtaining Compensation for Injuries
Immediately after the accident and if the other driver is never caught, the pedestrian can file insurance claims with his or her own policy if he or she has the appropriate coverage. This may include uninsured motorist coverage, which also provides protection in the event of a hit and run accident. Further, pedestrians who carry personal injury protection (PIP) may use this no-fault coverage to pay for damages as well.
If caught, the hit and run driver could face Class C felony charges, and may face up to five years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. The driver can also be liable for the pedestrian’s damages via an insurance claim. If the police eventually discover the identity of the driver, the pedestrian can file an insurance claim with the driver's liability insurer to recover damages.
Injured pedestrians may also pursue a lawsuit against the motorist if liability insurance is not adequate to cover all damages, or if the motorist was uninsured; in fact, some motorists may flee the scene because they are uninsured and do not want to face additional penalties or financial responsibilities.
Some pedestrians may also pursue punitive damages in hit and run lawsuits. These damages punish the driver for engaging in grossly negligent behavior. Discuss this possibility with an attorney.
Get Help at Max Meyers Law PLLC
An attorney can help hit and run victims get compensation for their injuries based on their available legal options. Attorneys can negotiate with insurance companies and help injured pedestrians in Seattle pursue a civil lawsuit if necessary. Max Meyers Law can help you exercise your rights following a hit and run pedestrian accident. Contact our office at 425-399-7000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.